The History of Enterprise Lodge #3

Prince Hall Masons in Maryland trace their history to Massachusetts and to Prince Hall, who is believed to have been born in 1735, and died on December 4, 1807. On March 6, 1775, Prince Hall and fourteen others were initiated into a military Lodge at what is now Fort Independence, Massachusetts. On March 2, 1784, Prince Hall petitioned the Grand Lodge of England for a warrant or charter authorizing that a regular Lodge be constituted. It was issued on September 29, 1784, but not received until May 6, 1787, at which time African Lodge No. 459 was formed. On June 6, 1791, the lodge was erected into the African Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

The First African Independent Grand Lodge of North America No. 1 of the State of Pennsylvania, whose own authority came directly from Prince Hall, warranted the first lodge of black Masons constituted in the state of Maryland on February 2, 1825. This lodge was styled as African Friendship Lodge of Baltimore No. 6. Thereafter the same authority warranted Saint James Lodge and Enterprise Lodge. In 1845, again with the able assistance of Pennsylvania, these three (3) subordinate lodges formed the First Colored Grand Lodge, A.F.&A.M. of the state of Maryland, with Rev. James A. Handy as Grand Master.

In 1847, following the establishment of the National Grand Lodge, another grand lodge was organized in Maryland pursuant to its authority and styled as Union Grand Lodge. These two Grand Lodges remained in the field until 1876, when, being convinced that the object each Grand Master sought to accomplish would be better served by a union of the two, efforts to consolidate were made by the leading members of the two organizations.

On September 12, 1876, the two Grand Lodges merged. In 1878, the name was changed to The Most Worshipful United Grand Lodge of the State of Maryland. In 1947, the name of the Grand Lodge was again changed to The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Maryland and its Jurisdictions, Inc., which name it still bears.

In 1960, Most Worshipful Grand Master Willard W. Allen stepped down and Most Worshipful
Grand Master Samuel T. Daniels assumed the mantle of leadership. Later in that same year, the Grand Lodge moved to its present location at 1307 Eutaw Place at Lanvale Street and the Temple was duly named after Most Worshipful Grand Master Allen. In 1998 Most Worshipful Grand Master Daniels stepped down, at which time the Honorable Shelton D. Redden was elected Most Worshipful Grand Master, which he served in that capacity for twelve years. In 2010, Melvin M. Thorpe was elected Most Worshipful Grand Master, he served for four years.

On Sunday, December 7, 2014, the Craft nominated and elected the Honorable Lee A. Taylor, Jr., as Most Worshipful Grand Master. Grand Master Taylor has the distinction of being the only sitting Most Worshipful Grand Master in Maryland’s history to have also served as Grand Worthy Patron. He comes into office with a great love of the principles of Freemasonry and vision to increase Prince Hall Freemasonry’s community involvement and charitable contributions to the great citizens of Maryland.

Currently there are eighty-one (81) constituent lodges that constitute Maryland and its
jurisdiction. Sixty-six (66) are within the state of Maryland, eight (8) are in Germany, five (5) are in England, four (4) are in Italy, one (1) is in Belgium, and one (1) in Kuwait. Maryland Prince Hall Lodges look back with pride to their Mother Lodge and to Prince Hall’s life and leadership. They each regard themselves as descendants from the Grand Lodge of England, from which Prince Hall received his own authority more than two centuries ago.

History Of Prince Hall

The fraternal tradition of freemasonry in North America began as a predominately White organization between the 16th and 17th century. Today, many African Americans belong to a group of Masons named after abolitionist Prince Hall, who is known as the Father of Black Freemasonry, and on this day, he and 14 other African Americans were initiated as Masons on March 6, 1775.

Hall, born in 1735, rose to prominence as a politically active abolitionist and activist who fought for the protection of free Blacks in the North from kidnappers and traders from the South, Other accounts also say that Hall petitioned for African Americans to return back to their native continent.

Hall was also involved in fighting for equal treatment of Black schoolchildren in comparison to their White counterparts. Serving as an educator himself, Hall’s contributions to the improvement of African Americans and their living conditions are vast.

In the 18th century, many Free Blacks in the North wanted the same access to platforms that Whites enjoyed, such as those in the political and social arenas. Freemasonry was one such area that was exclusive to Whites, although the group shared philosophies with Hall and had his admiration.

Just before the American Revolutionary War, Hall and 14 other Black men tried to gain admittance to Boston’s St. John’s Lodge. Turned away and causing a stir among Whites who wanted no parts of his group, Hall and the others went looking at other lodges.

On this day, Hall and the 14 men were made masons at Lodge No. 441 of the Irish Registry.
The occasion marked the first time men of color achieved the lofty status. A year later, however, the conflict between America and England escalated and the lodge dissolved.

The move left Hall and his newly initiated brothers without a lodge of their own. Hall and the others were granted permission to meet as a lodge and perform masonic burial rituals but could not do other Freemason work. Known as the African Lodge, the group thrived although they still fought for acceptance from White masons.

The African Grand Lodge would finally go independent, and 20 years after Hall’s passing in 1807, the group would finally declare themselves as separate from the White Grand Lodge,
In 1847, the group changed their name from the African Grand Lodge to Prince Hall Grand Lodge as it is known today. The group has members around the globe, with 5,000 lodges and 47 grand lodges all around the world.